Friday Travel – Guided Tours: a second look.

Hoi An river scene

You may remember that I wrote, some months ago, about taking guided tours as opposed to self-guided travel trips.

And I said that I would update the blog, after I undertook another guided tour, to Vietnam.

Well, I’m sitting in the lobby of the Ruby River hotel in Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City, waiting for the minibus to take us to the airport to fly home again – so here is a look at the second tour.

Before I begin, I have to say that this tour differed from the last in some significant ways.

On that tour, the entire group was picked up, put down, moved around as an amorphous mass – what one tourist did, all tourists did, and everything was detailed down to the minute.

In this case, however, there were a number of groups who came together for excursions – but who then went back to individual hotels, only to meet again the next day.

In that way, it was actually a lot like a cruise ship.

We, for example, kept meeting up with a group of Aussies who were on the same excursions as us – and in one  case, were staying in the hotel literally next door to us – but eventually, we parted company when they headed west, to Cambodia.

Meantime, we were joined on some excursions by tourists from other tours: it seems that in the case of Vietnam, our tour company (and theirs) would then subcontract another company to actually provide the guides on excursions: again, rather like a cruise.

And like a cruise, there are different accommodation options – we spoke earlier this week to a single traveller who was booked through the same travel agency (Halong Tours). He had chosen a cheaper hotel style, and so we hadn’t caught up with him before, even though he was undertaking many of the same excursions.

I have to say, I like the extra flexibility we had with this tour, compared to our last package .. and I also have to say, I loved the variety of things we saw and did here in Vietnam .. and will almost certainly come back again.

Replica of tank that drove through palace gates, ending Vietnam war

Typical traffic in Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon

Paint the boat while still afloat

Mekong Delta river scene

Sleepy afternoon after Mekong Delta floating market

Hoi An markets

My Son temple remains

My Son temple remains


Halong Bay

Halong Bay karsts

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